The strike by a section of executive pilots of Air India (AI) protesting cut in productivity-linked incentives (PLIs) affected flight operations across the country.

The 400-strong executive pilots are aggrieved by the decision to cut their PLIs by 25 per cent to 50 per cent by the national carrier, which reeled under losses to the tune of Rs.7,000 crore in 2008-09.

At least 13 flights, including three international ones, had to be cancelled, causing distress to passengers who could not be accommodated in other flights.

AI authorities maintained that the strike had not affected the operations and hoped that Chairman and Managing Director Arvind Jhadav would hold talks with the aggrieved group in Mumbai on Sunday. The official line was that only 13 flights had been affected in the absence of as many executive pilots.

The authorities claimed that affected passengers were shifted to other flights.

However, an international flight to Kabul from Delhi and two flights from Chennai to Sharjah and Colombo too were cancelled as some executive pilots did not report for duty on grounds of illness.

Delhi most affected

Flight operations from Delhi were affected the most by the sickness bug, with at least seven flights, including the one to Kabul, cancelled. Flights to Mumbai, Lucknow, Chennai, Aurangabad and Srinagar, Pune, Bangalore and Indore via Bhopal were also cancelled.

Apart from two international flights from Chennai, the domestic flight to Madurai stood withdrawn. A flight from Kolkata to Aizawl too had to be terminated.

The striking group claimed allowances constituted the bulk of the pilots’ salary and that the cut would amount to working for AI without any salary.

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